Saturday, July 12, 2008

Great White shark sighted at Martha's Vineyard

Whether vacationers just went home for dinner or were afraid of sharks, no one was around this afternoon at Tashmoo Beach on the north side of Martha's Vineyard.

State officials said a beach on the idyllic island of Martha’s Vineyard’s was closed today after possible sightings of a great white shark.

A great whiteLifeguards at South Beach reported seeing what they believed to be the two-foot-high dorsal fin of a shark at about 9:30 a.m., said Edgartown Police Chief Paul Condlin. Police later received reports of another sighting at State Beach.

Lisa Capone, a spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said a pilot was dispatched this afternoon to scan the waters off Edgartown. No shark was spotted, she said.

Still, officials took precautions. The Department of Conservation and Recreation closed the state-owned South Beach because of concern about the reports, said DCR spokeswoman Wendy Fox.
A great white shark sighting is rare, but not unheard of in Massachusetts waters, said Greg Skomal, the state’s shark specialist with the Division of Marine Fisheries. He said the species has a range that stretches from from the Gulf of Mexico into Canadian waters.

State officials last summer
blamed the death of two seals on great whites in the waters off of Cape Cod. In 2004, a great white was stranded in a sand trap off the Martha’s Vineyard coast for two weeks. The last believed great white attack on a person in New England was in 1936.


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